Tag Archive: Life


Keep On Keeping On

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I’m not very good at stopping and doing nothing. Part of me wishes I was. I didn’t even watch two and a half hours of shows today before I switched the tv off having had the constant feeling that I should be doing something else.

Reading is the closest thing I get to a day doing nothing and yet I can’t remember the last time I even let myself do that for a whole day without picking up a pen or filming something.

I actually like the creative part of my life, it focusses and energises me. Whilst I was on leave it was all pretty great. I was producing heaps and my life felt balanced. I was in a zone.

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Then though I had to go back to work.

It is a new work environment, and whilst most of the people there are great some aspects of it all are less than ideal, making what is already a stressful work environment even more so.

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I have found myself saying more and more often that I don’t give a crap. Last night my hubby told me that I had said it so much that it was beginning to worry about me because that kind of sentiment is just not me.

There are of course plenty of things I do still care about, but I have started to use that phrase as a way to distance myself from things. I am an over thinker and certain things eat away at me, even when they are not of my doing. Right now I don’t have the energy to deal with all those things and I think part of me hopes that if I repeat this sentiment over and over often enough I will stop feeling so much about the things I have no control over.

Problem though is if I start down this path am I going to be able to stop it? Because I never want to be a person with a hard heart that no longer cares for anything. I don’t want these frustrations I’m dealing with to poison my life.

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So I need to find a better way going forward.

Usually one of my best coping mechanisms is being creative but even that has changed.

My focus at the moment isn’t a world I’ve made up but a project called RAW, Rough Authentic Worship, and I’m really enjoying it, mostly. I don’t think my faith, for all my obvious and not so obvious flaws, has even been stronger. I am also really enjoying working with my husband. It definitely contributes to helping me maintain.

Thing is though when I went back to work, not only did my stress levels increase, the hours I got to be creative decreased. It was like a double whammy and we are still trying to find a new rhythm.

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Then in amongst all that is the doubt and second guessing of myself that is harder to block out when my reserves are as low as mine are now. There is that voice that is telling me to give up RAW because it is a project designed for interaction – to reach out to others, and that side of it seems like a failure, (even though I know these things take time).

Admittedly the feeling of failure is a struggle I have gone through before. Lots of people say positive supportive things but few give action to platitude. Sometimes words are the perfect solution and sometimes they are not.

The difference between RAW and writing a book only a few people read is that RAW is put together with an outward focus and fiction is simply a story I want to tell (and then if someone likes it all the better).

So how do I, in the midst of all this change, when my  feelings are so close to the surface all the time because I don’t have the energy to monitor them especially when I am safe at home, keep hold of my peace and keep moving forward?

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I don’t really have the answer to that yet. Like usual I am a work in progress. I am trying to shift my RAW focus – to be grateful for the things I am learning, the skills I am developing.

I am trying to stop the work issues from encroaching on the time I am not at work – finding ways to deliberately distract myself to stop over thinking.

Also I am trying to again find some form of balance. Trying to tell myself again that it is okay to do nothing, as well as getting in time reading just for enjoyment not research and maybe dipping my toes back into fiction as well.

Hopefully one day I will figure it out.

If you are interested in my faith journey you can always check out our Patreon site : https://www.patreon.com/roughauthenticworship

 

 

 

 

Read

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I’m not even joking a little.

I have just started my leave from work, good timing I know being as for the most part self-isolation is what I do best. I have a pile of books I want to read. I heap of writing I want to get done and this new faith project I’m developing.

I simply don’t understand how people are so worried about being stuck at home. I haven’t even added cleaning my house to the list because…well let’s face it, that has never been a priority for me.

Here’s the thing though, just because you can’t be out and about doing everything as normal doesn’t mean that this isn’t a wonderful opportunity.

I read somewhere that as a result of this pandemic certain things will have to stop and this means the earth will be able to take a breath and try for a little reset. I really liked that idea. I think we people need to do this too, embrace all the ideas about stepping back and making the most of the opportunity in front of us.

The world is a vast and wonderful place, there is always something to learn, so why don’t we take advantage of that now. Read the biography you keep putting to the side, or any book for that matter, start learning a language, learn a new skill.

More than that create.

Write, draw, paint, knit, sew. Let us find value in the act of creating.

Let us find healing in the stepping back. Consider the things that truly matter. Write long emails, Skype, phone call. Communicate in ways that are deeper and longer than we have been. Reconnect with the time you have now you are not running frantically from task to task filling up your life with busyness.

Again read. Soak up the stories, the experiences of others, stretch out your perceptions, learn to see through another’s eyes.

And for sanity’s sake stop selfish and panic buying, the harm you are doing in despicable.

New Directions

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So I have made it to February and I have no idea how this much time has passed since my last post. I have been busy writing, a lot on my new project which is actually not fiction and very solidly grounded in my faith.

It isn’t something I was planning on doing, if you had asked me this time last year where my writing direction would go I’d have told you something very different. In fact I do still want to keep going with my fiction and I have started a new paranormal urban fantasy series but for now  this other thing fills my time.

I have been working on this new project, which will not be a book, so intensely because I need to have enough content to keep me going when my life gets so incredibly busy, which is does at times.

This is a new chapter of my life and life is full of chapters so I guess we will see how it goes. When the time is right I will share more.

Flipping the Narrative

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I was attending a meeting with a bunch of amazing women whose goal is to improve conditions for other women in the workplace. Yes, it is very union driven, yes, we advocate for equality, no we don’t man bash or burn our bras. Anyway, one of the women was sharing a story and in its telling she was using a word that for some reason was bothering me. Sometimes when this happens it’s more of a Princess Bride thing ‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

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This wasn’t one of those situations, it was more that she was using the word because we are so used to it being used to describe women dealing with things emotionally. The word she was using was ‘weak’.

Before going further let’s look at the definition of that word:

  1. Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks, having little physical strength or energy.
  2. Liable to break or give way under pressure, easily damaged.

Now let’s hit the thesaurus: delicate, puny, flabby, flaccid, debilitated, feeble, frail, sickly – you get the idea.

Why the English lesson you ask? Simple, this woman was talking about women and using weak as the descriptor, ‘women should be allowed to be weak, have weak moments.’ Being puny, flabby, frail and easily damaged is not at all what she meant. (OMG it is a Princess Bride thing.) She was talking about visibly expressing emotions. In the course of what she said she unwittingly changed ‘weak’ to ‘vulnerable’ and I thought that was a better word:

Vulnerable – exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. Coming from the Latin vulnus – wound; vulnerare – to       wound.

So then again maybe not.

Expressing emotions, being emotional doesn’t mean easily damaged or weak. I think it is time we start changing the words we use, especially the ones we use unconsciously.

Women are not the weaker sex!

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Yes, I said it. Oh, I’m not going to deny that generally men are physically stronger, but we all know that’s not what we are actually talking about. It is entirely possible that is where the phrase started from, a general physical descriptor, somewhere along the way though it came to mean so much more.

It became a way to limit woman’s participation in society. We weren’t allowed to learn on an equal footing and so we were considered intellectually inferior. We were restricted in the types of employment we could get, limiting our independence, meaning we were rather dependant on men for financial survival – therefore less capable which meant weaker. Women process things differently – there are research papers and books galore proving this – but because a lot of that processing involves emotions, men say we are weaker.

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I know I am not the only one who cries at really irritating moments. There was this one time I was sparring with this guy and he clocked me one in the head. I freaking belted him till I was pulled out. I was fine until someone asked me if I was okay and I burst into tears. I wasn’t hurt, I hadn’t lost – not that it was a fight, I was just processing and the adrenaline and frustration of him not being censured for breaking the rules resulted in me losing it momentarily. Which just made it all worse because I came down on myself for being weak. I say again, I wasn’t hurt and I’d gone hard at the guy after – there is nothing weak about that. Perception is though that tears equals weakness.

What a crock of shit. Emotions are powerful and can be overwhelming. What they are not, is a weakness. So how about we consider that women have inherent strength due to the fact we were created to process the full tsunami impact of emotions (oh and go through childbirth) and men were not. In fact, that men have determinedly refused to allow emotions a place has been proved to be damaging, hence the push in recent years to say it’s okay to get in touch with what is going on inside.

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Women have been restricted, persecuted, belittled, abused and debased and we still keep pushing forward. We then get back on our feet and take the next step towards where we want to be, with tear tracks marking our faces as we do so. This is strength. The ability to endure, to overcome. To keep raising our voices even whilst being told to hold our tongues, or just plain ignored.

So let us go forward now, no longer saying women need to be allowed moments of weakness or vulnerability when what we are referring to are periods of assessment, processing and growth.

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Embrace all the differences, all the moments and reach out a hand when you need to, knowing it isn’t weakness, it is simply understanding what it is you need as you journey through life.

Women are resilient, determined, creative, instinctive, smart, driven and powerful, and we can do all of it whilst laughing, crying and experiencing every emotion in between.

 

Glitter Tits

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I have done a thing. Being a volunteer at a pop culture conventions, was an awesome part of my life for a bunch of years. Through that time I made some incredible friends, had some amazing experiences and some not so great ones.

This year I had to make the choice to walk away from this part of my life. I kind of knew it was coming but wasn’t ready when it did. To help me get through I started to write down some of my memories.

This little book, mini book if you will, is the culmination of that. I don’t mention celebrity names, I don’t mention any names except mine. I don’t think it makes that much difference, the stories are still great, or not so great as a few of them are. And there are a few ‘what were you thinking’ moments of mine that made the cut, so feel free to laugh with me.

If you are a pop-culture convention goer, or fan, please buy it, read it – my little love letter to this awesome scene. Share the link with your friends, boost the signal. I love this scene and know there are still experiences I want to have.

 

Holidays

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I am currently on leave from work and I am busy, but in a way I like to be. I am writing. I have set myself various goals for these weeks off and I aim to be productive.

So many people were asking what my holiday plans were and then wondered if I wouldn’t get bored being as I’m not going anywhere this time.

Thing is for the last little while all I have really wanted to do is write. I have a novella length project that I’ve just finished the main edit on and it will hopefully be published before the holidays are done. I have also gotten my edits back from my editor and after a pain in my butt stuff around by my cover artist, I have commissioned a new artist and will hopefully have that soon, so Book three in the Oparna Legacy can be published.

Also my faith has hit the forefront of my life again and I have a project tied into that which I plan on making substantial headway on during this time off.

Then of course there is the new series I have started working on as well, an urban paranormal crime series that I think will be kind of fun.

So that’s it for my holiday plans and I can’t help but think my 6 and a bit weeks leave isn’t going to be anywhere near long enough for me to get all the writing done that I want to do.

Tough Times, Tough Decisions.

The start of this year has been tough.

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Unexpected expenses, but that’s life, just work more to deal with them. Broken promises, disappointing but life goes on. the weight of additional expectations, but you adjust and step up to the new mark.

Then in the space of less than two weeks I lost one of my regular coping mechanisms and one of my work colleagues committed suicide. Two separate events, both having a profound affect on me.

Life isn’t always easy to compartmentalise and as much as I’d like to treat these things as two completely separate events, from a mental health perspective, that’s not necessarily how it works. They are, by virtue of the fact I experienced both, inextricably linked.

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I have always been open about my own battles with depression and my history of self-harm. I also have people both incredibly close to me and in my wider circle of friends that struggle with/deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis.

But I also see myself as a strong person. Someone who will stand up for myself, my family, my friends and any underdog who doesn’t seem capable of fighting for themselves. Here though is where I get tripped by one of the quirks of my brain. Because I will fight for others, sometimes I expect those others to fight for me. Why? When they won’t even stand for themselves? I have no idea. It makes no logical sense. That is the way it is though and when they don’t, the little voice in the back of my brain pipes up. ‘Cleary you don’t mean that much to them. Why do you think anyone cares what you are going through?’ Some of you will know that voice I speak of.

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Again logically I know my inner dialogue lies. Knowing that doesn’t stop the room closing in, the clouds blocking out the light, or the quicksand pulling me emotionally down.

Here is where coping mechanisms come in. I run, walk, hit something – any kind of solitary workout. I get lost in a book. Sometimes I just repeat to myself while I am lying there, ‘this too shall pass.’

I have something else though. I have people around me I can reach out to. People who understand, to the limit you can understand, the fucked up nature my headspace.

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Which brings me to my work colleague and their very final actions.

I work in an incredibly high stress job. The number of suicides is staggering. We all know it. We know the mental health stats. We know there are people, even professionals, we can talk to. And yes I have availed myself of that service.

Still this person, this bright shining star, in possession of a uniques and larger than life personality was clearly suffering.

Why? I think it’s probably the biggest question after something like this. Why didn’t they ask for help? Why did they isolate themselves? Also what the fuck we’re they thinking? I wanted to be so angry with her. We weren’t the closest but I still would’ve been there if she’d asked. And I know she had people close to her who are wondering why didn’t she just reach out to me?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know what she was thinking. I don’t know why she didn’t reach out. I don’t know if or why she thought she wasn’t worth helping.

I don know her actions have had a rippling affect on those who’s lives crossed with hers. I do know she will be sorely missed. And I do know thinking about it still makes me cry.

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And so I will say it again, as I have before, if you are struggling for any reason, reach out. Do I need to say it again? Reach out. I will say it as often as I need to. Reach out. You are never alone. There are no easy fixes or quick answers, but there are people who would hate for you to not be in their lives anymore.

Of course things sometimes aren’t that simple. Sometimes the people you expect to support you don’t. For what ever reason. Which brings me to point two, but before I get there, remember don’t give up and don’t believe the lies. One set back isn’t the end of things.

Now this second thing.

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I’ve already talked about coping mechanisms. We all have them. I attended a specific event several times a year as a way of de-stressing. It gave me a sense of belonging, a place to let go and be me. In my regular role, it was a place I thought I was useful and quite frankly, good at. I made heaps of friends, had problems I could solve and then bitch about, and fun moments.

Things though have been changing and I don’t claim to understand why. This last week and a bit though, things have come to a head. I know I was usually in a fortunate position, but I felt I’d worked for it and earned it. It seems this was not the case.

For reasons I do not know I was removed from that position and put somewhere I didn’t want to be. Oh don’t get me wrong, it is another position other people desperately want to be, but not me. I’d done it once because I was told I had to, sure it wasn’t exactly the same but it was similar, and it broke me. Plain and simple I had a mini breakdown.

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I told them this when the move came up this year and I was told that’s terrible, what can we do to help, and where else would you like to be? I  just wanted to go back to my comfort zone, but it seems this was not an option. So my choice was, do something I was pretty certain wouldn’t end well for me, or go into another area to learn something I didn’t want to learn and be isolated from the very people I had gone to see.

I didn’t want to make this choice. I though long and hard about the decision I ended up making. I cried (yes I am stupidly emotional at times, but I’m hardly the only one and I don’t care). I had many internal debates. I overthought. My stress levels went up. The clouds began to close in.

In the end I knew my initial gut reaction was the one I’d have to go with. I had to walk away.

deucesNow this is something I have devoted hundreds of hours of my life and thousands of my dollars on, and I knew I had to walk away.

Support I expected didn’t come.

I don’t know all of what is going on behind the scenes, or in other people’s lives. I still don’t know why I had to make this decision. I just knew I was hurting and it didn’t seem to matter.

Then something happened.

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Support came from unexpected places. Sometimes it’s the people you don’t expect that see things, they see the struggle and understand.

We tell ourselves we should just get over things, deal with things or suck it up. Really that’s not what we need at all. Oh absolutely there are times when those things are all completely valid pieces of advice, but not always.

Sometimes what we need is someone to say – I’m here, what do you need?

The answer isn’t the same for everyone. It could be; ice-cream, a shared laugh, company, a hug or even nothing – because you’ve already done it and I no longer feel alone.

I am very introverted by nature. I love the quiet, home and not being around people, though I can certainly do the opposite. I know though that life is never something we get through alone.

So one door shuts and I’ll have to find another door to open. The ache of the losses will pass and life continues on it’s sometimes not so merry adventure.

For the love of everything, please don’t be afraid to reach for help, it’s there. I know it is. Just maybe not where you thought it would be.

Perseverance

Sometimes I wonder why. Then I scoff at myself because I know why. I write because I have to, there are ideas floating, sometimes churning around in my head that have to be let out. That want and demand a life of their own, silly as that may sound.

The other day I was in a book store and I was looking at all these new titles that I thought I wouldn’t mind checking out even though my bank account isn’t that friendly and I wondered what I was playing at thinking myself an author. I am one though. I am also published, sure I haven’t cracked the traditional market but does that make me any less an author? I don’t think it does. I work incredibly hard on my books, I write, I edit, I re-edit and I pay for a professional edit. This whole process takes massive amounts of time, mind space and effort, so I guess I shouldn’t really question whether I am an author.

Yes I wish I could see my books on a shelf, and maybe one day that will be a thing. For now though I just have to persevere with what I do, slog through the daily effort of juggling a full time job, a family and writing, in the hope that one day I will earn the break I’m working towards.

Power of the Creative

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A couple of days ago I woke to a social media feed filled with messages about what Stan Lee had meant to people from all over. I too added my voice to this. The worlds and characters he gave us spoke to so many and allowed many to realise they aren’t alone, that they can dream and achieve and that they should never let the naysayers have the last say.

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Stan is not the only person to speak to the heart of people. I have just spent another fortnight volunteering at a pop culture convention and it seems to me that society needs its creatives for it is they who can speak to the heart of matters more freely than others can bring themselves to. It is the creatives who nuture hope and dreams in those of us who feel we don’t quite fit in with what  society says is acceptable.

Yes I am fortunate that I have met many actors whose work I admire but ultimately that is not the reason I do the conventions. My reason is family. Not blood family but family none the less.

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My vollie family and regular con attendees have given me a place I feel welcome. I know this is not a feeling that solely belongs to me. Often those of us who feel we don’t quite fit, function just fine in ‘normal life’, we go to work we get on with our lives but at home we hide in worlds that come from other people’s minds. 

Characters show things we go through and this tells us we can’t be the only person struggling or experiencing something. Characters told me it was alright for girls to be smart, to be heard, to fight, to not be limited by what others say is acceptable behaviour, and that it is okay to break the mold. They let me know that perfect is a crock and life is messy but to be embraced in a manner that is true to self.

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I sometimes wonder at the reactions of people when they meet the actors who play their favourite characters because I think surely it is the characters they love not the actors. I’ve never had the same visceral reactions that some fans have. (However I did have a total ‘ OMG that just happened moment’ when I was kissed by the gentleman who voices Optimus Prime – and it was more to do with the gentleman himself rather than me being a fan of the Transformers.) Even though I wonder I sort of understand, because when someone shows you that something is okay for you to feel or be, it is a powerful thing.

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Personally my attachment is to characters rather than anyone who portrays that character. My attachments are a visceral thing; I swear at them, cry and laugh with them or because of them, I draw back into their worlds when I need to comfort myself, I become thoroughly invested in their lives. My goal as a writer is to create characters that other people like, or even better love. When I write it feels as though my characters talk to me. I don’t plan when I write, my characters tell me where they want to go. They are my friends. It seems natural to me that characters have life, they need life to speak to others. I only hope that in the course of putting words to paper that I do them justice.

I hope you’ll buy my books (Becoming and Steps to Destiny) at Amazon, {the links are Au but you can buy they from any region} if you haven’t already, but even if you don’t, do yourself a favour and buy someone’s book, go meet a new character today, you might be surprised at the outcome.

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Being An Author

I guess I really am an author. I have two books published now and a third in editing stage.

I love the cover for my second book and the thanks for the art go to the amazing Mel Schwarz, and the graphics were done by the awesome Peter B.

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I’m pretty happy that the second one finally got out, later than what I’d hoped but what are you going to do, some times life simply doesn’t go according to plan. It will mean (hopefully) that the gap between two and three won’t be as long because the first draft for three is already finished.

Other huge things are happening for me I’m about to venture into the unknown. I’m going to speak at a conference. It’s not the first stage I’ve been on, not by a long shot but it is the first where the audience is made up of professionals expecting to hear from another professional. I believe I can do this but there are still occasional doubts. I had a moment the other week when I was thinking about the people I will be talking to and I wondered why I thought I could do do this as they are all grown up and the like. Then I realised I too am a grown up I just somehow seem to forget that about myself. What it is is that I don’t take myself as seriously as I seem to think these kind of professionals do. I guess I will find out.

Also on the writing front, I jumped out of bed this morning to write down another idea. It’s good to know I have enough ideas to keep me writing for a while yet, I only wish the need to work and pay bills didn’t interfere.

I know I haven’t got a proper handle on keeping regular with my blog updates, I really wish I was better at it, I used to be. Again though, life gets in the way and sometimes something has to give. For me it is this. Here’s hoping that I will get better at keeping this updated sometime soon.